Monday, November 30, 2009

M3nsa = mad nice...get familiar with his music

M3nsa - Suicide in the Disco (Download
M3nsa - Gently Smile(Download)

M3nsa is one of the most talented people i know period. i've seen him work, heard his work, and the brother got work! he raps, he sings -i mean realllly sings good (no autotune or any other digital crutches)- and he also produces some really cutting edge stuff. he produced both tracks i put up above.

Lately ive been been feeling the ghanaian diaspora is having a resurgence, a really powerful musical renaissance with some real powerful artists and personalities: what up kubolor, what up sena, what up sway, what up blitz. M3nsa defintely is a big part of it. he's been a bonafide muscian since we were all in high school; producing, rapping, and singing hit records for regggie rockstone wayy before most of us ever recorded a single joint. if there was a high school yearbook of my ghanaian musicians peers, he'd have had most likely to succeed under his picture.

but off course with mucho talent comes lots of pressure and the burden of perfectionism. so its been a long time coming for my brother to put out his brilliant music. but don't fret, finally he's got 2 or 3 records in the bag just about ready to be let out. i'll keep you posted.

peace peace
m diggy dot

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Baggage claim...

just got back to the twin cities last night. found out Northwest merged (or perhaps ate up) Delta airlines - gotta love capitalism. they lost my bags in transit off course and i was mucho peeved. bad enough i had to transit through Chicago to get to mpls for what should have been a very short direct flight. gotta love capitalism: cutting costs triumphs over convenience.

being the writer i am though, i woke up with a two word motif hanging over my heard - comic strip style. all i could think of was "baggage claim" x20. makes for a good metaphor for a song. out of misfortune come good songs. who woulda thunk.

and oh, here's the immem stream for "the birds and the beats." you can always post it up on your blog if it tickles ya fancy.

peace peace
m diggy dot

Ps: on the picture above: huh? Louis vitton? or Ghana-Must-go?

The Birds And The Beats

Monday, November 23, 2009

Liner Notes: to Enhance Listening...

M.anifest - the Birds and the Beats Liner Notes

1. Born Free ft. Sarah White (Prod. Budo)
how this eventually came out is a tribute to patience and the competence of my co-conspirators. Wrote this intro in 2005 to my favorite P funk song. I let it marinate till '09. Sent Budo my vocals and he crafted a beast of a beat around it. I re-recorded, Sarah did some amazing backups which i loved so much i used as the main vocals. My voice and hers blend so well together especially on the lows- at times u don't know who's singing the low melody. Look out for our S&M project.

2.How I Used to be (prod. Budo)
If you listened to my first record, manifestations, you can easily tell I'm heavily inspired by Fela Kuti. As famous as this sample of his is, Budo definitely killed it with the additional horns he layered. Plus the groove bumps like acne! It also happens to be the first song i did with ultra-talented Budo since i met him - circa March '08. Mandi is a great co-conspirator. She's always so patient with me as i create quirky hooks, and she eventually adds her own sultry creativity to it. Much love sistren.

3.Golly Gosh (Prod. G Mo)
G Mo is the best producer you only just heard of! 17 years old he produced a 1/3 of my first album when he was between the ages of 13 and 14! he's the lebron of this art form. He made this beat live @ at a big quarters cd release so effortlessly. His talent is scary and exciting to watch evolve! He's in Atlanta competing @ the Red Bull Big Tune National finals as i write this. This track is basically me lyrically stunting on fools to elicit a response such as the title. Just cause i have meaningful content doesn't mean my skills ain't unfuckwittable chale.

4.Get Away (Shafiq-Husayn Re-fix)

O-D put me onto Sa-Ra. Them dudes are dope and dope chale. Check for them. A friend recently hipped me to the Shafiq Husayn(part of Sa-Ra) solo album, Shafiq En' A-Free-Ka, which absolutely affected me deeply. Spiritual Soul! I got onto pro-tools and committed a sacrilegious act: looped different parts of one of his songs to make a beat so i could vent. A friend had just called me in the custody of immigration too so i needed this for catharsis.

5.2nd Coming PSA (Prod. Katrah-Quey)
Katrah-Quey - another Ultra talented part of the 4shades production collective. They are the backbone of the music I've been pumping to y'all. He's the most likely to make a beat that makes you wide-eyed wondering how he thought to try that! His beat making style is daring, organically unique, and I'm always sure he won't conform to whatever bullshit is poppin' @ the moment. He's G Mo's uncle as well. Runs in the family! The way he flipped this Manu Di..(well nevermind) bangs so hard! First used it @ a show at which i opened up for K'naan. worked

6.Hubris (Prod. M. & Budo)
Donny Hathaway loop meets live horns and synths by Budo, meets stream of consciousness from yours truly. We did this on Halloween, a day or so after the mpls A.R.M. Listening party which was very well received. Inspiration and Jack Daniels get recognition for being part of the process. I do tribal soulful music. Songs like this with congas, horns, and synths – i could live on. Shouts to Budo and all those Africans @ Kilimanjaro partying it up below the studio.

7.Still Hungry (Prod. G Mo)
when i. You're low on resources, ii. your last album was released 2 years ago, iii. you're self employed, however i. you're rich in ideas ii. and music - u end up writing a song like this. G Mo is like a one-man-band with some of his beats. He does non-sampled beats just as good as sampled ones. Kid is a beast. Boom bam.

8.Walk Away ft. Sarah White (Prod. Dee)

Every time i go to Ghana there are some folks i make sure to get up with cause I'm inspired by their boundless creativity. Dee is one of them. We sat in Reggie Rockstone's studio whiles he and M.A (2 of the best prod in Ghana) hit me with dope beat after dope beat. This one tickled my fancy and i ended up writing one of the hooks I'm most proud of. Song's also extra special cause 'twas the first time Sarah and i had a creative collision ... and it was magic. She's extra talented and sultry... and oh don't sleep on her emceeing skills.

9.My Lady Oh (Prod. G Mo)
In high school chemistry, we were taught all these mind-numbing and complex formulas and derivations, but none can aptly help us figure out the chemistry between women and men. Bet. If you've ever been in a serious relationship, not just casual “situationships,” this song will register. Dodi Phy is easily top 5 emcees in MN without a doubt – his parents are from Sierra Leone. He's made me re-write verses on a couple of occasions. The hook is loosely in pidgin english - my west Africans should dig it.

10.I love it PSA (Prod. G Mo)
Another G Mo gem! I begun this joint and never really got to finishing it tho i had a second verse to it. Budo helped me executive produce this project and he suggested that we make this a second short song/PSA on the album. It's a very self-explanatory joint: sh*t's not rosy and the struggle is tasking... but i'd have it no other way! pow.

11.just like a lion (Prod. Budo)
stadium status right here! one of those songs that made me knock myself in the head and ask if i was really giving this out free! Budo and I work well with rudiments. He's a dope instrumentalist, and his playing ability stunts on most of the producers out there. Hooks are one of my strongest musical attributes. I go full throttle, soul first, with hooks and Budo always ups the ante on how epic sounding it all is after we are finished with it! Boom bam chale.

12.Pardon Me (Prod. O-D)
i can make joints like this all day. Introspection mixed with splashes of social commentary is my bread and butter. O-D has been a very good friend since college. He is responsible for a good amount of my musical growth (and vice versa) cause we've been on this journey together since day 1! He's a quiet assassin on the beats! He makes some of the most soulful and monstrous beats on the planet. We were roommates for a minute and this is one of those joints where i was writing as he was banging on the mpc and doing his thug thizzle in logic. My half-frican brother with roots in the Seychelles – an African country most know nada about. Google it! He's the final part of 4shades collective.

13.Ghana, 52 (Prod. Budo)
March 6th 1957, Osagyefo Dr Nkrumah, Ghana's first president, ushered us into a new era of self-government. Bye-bye queen, bye-bye absentee British landlords. Every year we make merry on this day back home. Truth is, we have little to celebrate and a lot more to reflect on since our leaders have failed us since '57 and keep throwing dirt in our eyes. This is one of those joints where i show my ambivalent feelings towards such celebrations. On one hand its good to remember those that fought for us to be free, on the other its harmful to act as if everything is heavenly now that the British packed up and left. Budo does his thug thizzle on the instrumentation for this beat!

14.The birds and the beats (Prod. Weedy of 40 winks)
I have to credit weedy of 40 Winks cause he titled this beat “the birds and the beats” and sparked the idea for the album. 40 winks is a dope instrumental group from Belgium: consisting of Padmo' and Weedy. I love their sound so much! We have a free EP out there - Google it!. My musical approach is on some global-express-crossing-borders type thang. And my work with 40 winks, is a reflection of that.

15.Slow Your Roll (Prod. O-D)
Krukid and I are here to carry on tradition. Hes one of my favorite rappers easily – no jokes! Together with Budo, we have a frightfully potent triage called A.R.M. that I'm deeply enchanted with. It begun with this song which was prophetically the first song i ever did with Krukid. In his verse he prophetically and unknowingly proclaimed “This is the African Rebel Movement.” In the beginning was the word right? O-D is killing it with this beat too! Whoa. He lost the original session files :( when someone stole his laptop. Mr thief thief, we see you oh. Thumbs down to crack heads breaking into cars in broad day light.

16.D'angelo Said (Africa Re-fix)
The weight of having talent and meaningful songs in a world sometimes so cold and superficial can torment a tortured soul. D'angelo remains one of the most inspiring musicians of our generation, and hopefully he forgives me for this eh. But i couldn't find a more fitting way to cap off this album. Every time i listen to voodoo i can't wait till when i can say “Africa is my descent!” I'm unapologetically Ghanaian, and so African that at the slightest provocation i burst into vocal mannerisms – eish chale!. I had to loop parts of “Africa” and commit one final sacrilegious act.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Artistic Panic and Insecurities Plus "Cold Feet" Mp3 (Miike Snow re-fix)

"Cold Feet" mp3 - Download Here.

This was inspired by a moment of panic i had 2 weeks before the release of "the Birds and the Beats" which will be out for free Nov 20th. Truthfully it's hard to ever feel like a project is finished or great enough. that's how come some of your favorite musicians take forever to put out music. artistic insecurities are real...and necessary if you ask me. I've accepted it to be a great safeguard against mediocrity and complacency.

On the song itself and its origins:
I've enjoyed the Miike Snow record alot ever since Budo put me onto it. check em out. I looped parts of the last track, "faker," on their self-titled record and committed another sacriligious act of looping.ha. its not going to be on any project, but i liberated it cause u my facebook sistren and bredren asked me to :). hope you enjoy it for what its worth. let me know your thoughts

Friday, November 6, 2009

"The Birds & the Beats" - Nov 20th - FREE

More Details soon! in the meanwhile. enjoy what i did with a Shafiq Husayn track i was inspired by on 2dopeboyz Peace

and the tracklisting...

G Mo Vs. Boon Doc Beat Battle (Red Bull Big Tune)

Both these producers are dope in my opinion, and i suspect are fans of each other. i came across a message board with fascinating commentary and a few sycophants disparaging one of the producers cause they were obviously fans/msg board homies with the other. hilarity. i'll say more on what i think under the vid. but peep the extra round below. G Mo plays a beat that i've had a song to for a while now. called "my life is a motion picture." Producer battles >>>>>>> rap battles.

first off. i think all the producers were prolly dope and deserve credit for making it there. props. Second, beat battles are not a reflection of how dope a producer is, but how dope of a "battle beat" they can create. granted you have to be past a certain level of dope to make a dope beat period. but beat battles have an uncanny semblance to rap battles in that what works in a battle, and @ that moment, is not necessarily timeless material or stuff that can soulfully move the masses of people

did folks see the faces of Jake one and vitamin when the beats were played? yeah. point exactly.

G Mo is a phenom. 17years old and definitely top percentile of producers. bet. he produced a third of my first record when he was 14 and i was in awe then. he gets better too. on monday, i'll release a song with a beat i think he had in the stash for the battle but didn't get a chance to play. Boon doc is dope. definitely checking to see what he does in the future.

A toast to good music. And Red Bull Big Tune for putting the musicians in the limelight. congrats to Frank Dukes, the eventual winner.

i'm no expert. so i'll shut up already.

peace peace
m diggy dot